Sonja Inglefield is a harpist who possesses “virtuosity of a high order, as well as a flair for the dramatic” – according to the Baltimore Sun. Versatile and accomplished, she is experienced and highly qualified as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, clinician, adjudicator, and pedagogue.
As a soloist and chamber musician, Sonja has performed throughout the United States and Europe. She was featured at the World Harp Congresses in Geneva, Copenhagen, Paris and Vienna. A frequent participant in the June in Buffalo Contemporary Music Festival, Sonja has also collaborated with the Parallel Collective and New Horizons Chamber Ensembles in Baltimore, and the Beaufluvian Players in Buffalo. Throughout her career, Sonja has been a champion of contemporary music for her instrument. She has premiered and helped to commission numerous works for the harp, always ready to work with composers.
Having held the position of Principal Solo Harpist with the Baltimore Opera Company in Maryland for sixteen years (until they folded in 2008), Sonja’s orchestral experience is extensive. She has appeared with the Baltimore, Annapolis, Harrisburg, Delaware and Chautauqua Symphonies; the Baltimore and Western New York Chamber Orchestras; the Annapolis Opera and Opera Sacra of Buffalo; and the Erie Philharmonic, among others. While in Europe, she also worked with the Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento and the George Enescu Philharmonic.
As a teacher, Sonja believes in a very individualized approach to a student’s education. Considering the personal experience and expectations of each student is the basis on which she builds every distinct lesson. Beginning her tenure as Harp Professor at SUNY Fredonia in 2012, Sonja’s previous teaching experience is substantial. She has served on faculty at the Peabody Preparatory, the Baltimore School for the Arts, Goucher College, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Salisbury University.
A lifelong dedication to the harp is demonstrated by Sonja’s tireless service to her instrument. She is frequently in demand for master classes in performance, pedagogy techniques, and composing for the harp. As a jury member, Sonja has adjudicated regionally for the ASTA Solo Competition and nationally for the Anne Adams Awards and the American Harp Society National Competition. She has previously served on the Board of Directors of the American Harp Society, and currently serves as US correspondent to the World Harp Congress Review, and Executive Secretary for the Composition Contest of the USA International Harp Competition.
Sonja began studying harp at age three with her mother, Dr. Ruth K. Inglefield. In her early teens, she had the privilege of spending two summers at the Festival d’Été in Gargilesse, France working with the esteemed mentor Pierre Jamet. At age 16, she attended the Conservatorio Claudio Monteverdi in Bolzano, Italy, where she trained with Professor Gertrud Chiochetti. After finishing her Bachelor’s in Music from Bowling Green State University, Sonja was awarded a prestigious Fulbright Grant to study in Bucharest, Romania, where she coached with Professor Ion Ivan Roncea at the Conservatorul Ciprian Porumbescu. Upon returning from a political revolution and an earthquake in Romania, Sonja completed her graduate work, an Artist Diploma in harp performance and a Master of Music in pedagogy, with her mother at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland.
Early Childhood Music
In 2010, Sonja Inglefield helped to develop “Pathways to Music” for the Musical Journeys Program at SUNY Fredonia. Designed for children ages 6 months through 5 years old, Pathways classes provide an opportunity for children and parents to discover the joys of experiencing music while singing, moving, listening, dancing, and playing. The curriculum used for Pathways to Music is a holistic approach to age-specific early childhood music education.
Sonja earned a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Music Pedagogy from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She spent almost ten years teaching early childhood music on the Peabody Preparatory faculty and in the Baltimore City Schools before moving to western New York. During that time, she was licensed in both the Kindermusik® and Musikgarten® programs, while she was also trained to create an individualized curriculum.